Visiting Southwold is like going back in time. The pier with slot machines, coloured beach huts, fish and chips, and you can still find small independent shops, and even a cinema where they serve sherry with the film. Southwold borders the North Sea so the sea is cold and it tends to be windy, but the beaches are sandy, and if you enjoy the seaside you can always find a spot to call your own.
Southwold is also the home of Adnams, the brewery dating as far back as the 1600s. More recently they have also opened a distillery producing gin, vodka and whiskey. Tours run throughout the week. Their shop, just off the high street, is a great place for finding presents as, as well as the booze, they also sell novel cooking items.
Lovers of fish and chips won’t be disappointed. By the estuary, there are several places where you can buy them as well as fish to take home and cook. For me, a townie, the great joy is taking my fish and chips to a nearby bench, by the water’s edge and watching the seagulls who line up waiting expectantly for titbits.
You don’t have to be a ‘twitcher’ to enjoy Minsmere, the RSPB nature reserve not far from Southwold. It is a lovely way to spend the day, and open year round. Within the reserve there are lots of ‘hides’, huts where you can sit and watch the wildlife. I stupidly forgot to take binoculars, which really enhances the time spent there although you can also hire them. Within the hides are photographs of what you are likely to see, and fellow visitors are only too pleased to impart their knowledge.